Update: Dejan’s tweet was a joke. My apologies for taking it seriously and using it to make a point. I don’t want to take the post down and I think my point still stands, but I want to make it clear that Mr. Kovacevic does not actually feel the way described below.
At least, that’s the theory being put forth by former Pirates beat guy turned columnist Dejan Kovacevic:
And, yeah, there’s no doubt that Walker has been clutch over the course of his career. Look at his lines:
Bases empty: .247/.301/.365
Runners on: .320/.379/.480
RISP w/2 outs: .257/.340/.396
Bases loaded: .565/.538/.913 (13-for-23, 1 HR)
So, the Pittsburgh media, or Kovacevic at least, celebrates Walker’s clutchness.
But why on earth should we? The idea that Walker steps up his performance for one or two at-bats every night instead of the four he gets? That he can’t be at his absolute best for the entire five to eight minutes he spends in the batter’s box a night, but only the five or 10 at-bats he gets per week in bigger situations?
That would be a failing, not a thing to celebrate.
Because if we accept that Walker is clutch — that his numbers with runners on and the bases loaded are no fluke — then we’re admitting he’s an awful hitter the other 60 percent of the time.
Now, I don’t think any of that is the case. Maybe Walker has some concentration issues that’s led to his splits, but I think it’s more likely that those splits will simply begin to even out with time. I don’t believe that Walker is a lousy hitter who turns into a good one with men on base, nor do I believe that he’s a great one who just doesn’t really try when no one is on. Neither explanation makes much sense to me.